Authorities, Taxi Drivers Cut Deal On Vietnam Border Rides

After nearly 50 Cambodian taxi drivers blocked a border checkpoint in Kandal province on Tuesday to protest their Vietnamese counterparts’ methods of picking up passengers, authorities cut a deal to even out the competition, police said.

Koh Thom district police chief Sim Sokheang said the Cambodian drivers used their vehicles to block the road on the Cambodian side of the Chrey Thom International Checkpoint to thwart Vietnamese drivers from easily collecting visitors.

Cambodian driver Seak Leang, 38, said he joined the protest out of anger that some Vietnamese drivers were not respecting a Cambodian policy on taxi pickups, causing “anarchy” at the border.

Mr. Leang, who shuttles passengers from Chrey Thom to Phnom Penh, said Cambodian drivers were picking up their customers 150 meters from the checkpoint, but Vietnamese drivers crowded the border entrance.

“It is not fair that Vietnamese drivers could collect customers in front of the checkpoint, and we have to pick up far away from the checkpoint,” Mr. Leang said. “We seem to have the disadvantage.”

To break up the protest, Cambodian authorities called 46 Cambodian drivers into a meeting to announce that no drivers would be allowed to catch customers near the checkpoint entrance, Mr. Sokheang said.

Cambodian police will also check all taxi drivers’ documents to ensure they are legally allowed to work in the country, an effort to cut down on undocumented Vietnamese workers catching fares, Mr. Sokheang said.

“All Cambodian taxi drivers welcomed these solutions,” Mr. Sokheang said.

Mr. Sokheang said that Vietnamese drivers already have an advantage on the Cambodian side of the border.

“Normally, when you want to go to Vietnam, if you want to take a taxi you will look for a Khmer driver because it will be easy to communicate,” he said. “So the Vietnamese are also seeking Vietnamese drivers when they come to Phnom Penh.”

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